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Dos and Don’ts for a Healthy Voice

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Just like with any other instrument, you need to take proper care of your voice. Unlike other instruments, your voice is irreplaceable and if you don?t take care of your voice, you could lose it.

Here are some dos and don?ts for a healthy voice.

DON?T: Clear your throat! Ever! That means when you feel like something is in your throat or your voice sounds scratchy, resist the urge to clear your throat. Instead, drink or eat something acidic to help break down the phlegm like pineapple or lemonade.

DO: Wear a scarf! You know when you have a sore throat and drinking warm liquids soothes it, it?s because your vocal chords need to stay warm to maintain clear sound. Your throat should also stay warm since when your body is cold, your muscles constrict.

DON?T: Drink caffeinated drinks or alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate you and that is the worst thing for a voice. You want to make sure and steer clear of any foods or drinks that will dehydrate you.

DO: Drink lots of water! Since dehydration is the worst thing for your voice, water is the best. You want to make sure and drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. You can also get hydration from fruits and vegetables that have high water content. Just be sure not to eat too many acidic fruits.

DO: Rest! Singing is a workout for your voice and just like after any other workout, your body needs rest. Make sure and get 6-8 hours of sleep each night so you are fully energized throughout the day. If your voice gets tired mid vocal session, take a break and rest your vocal chords.

More about vocal health:
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How to command the stage: 10 Vocal Performance Tips

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1. Dress to impress. Wear a nice outfit that you feel comfortable in. If you feel like you look great, then you?ll have more confidence, which will radiate on stage. However, always be comfortable. If you?re wearing a great outfit that you don?t feel comfortable in, you?re mood will show it and you might hide.
2. Don?t hide. Don?t wear a big hat or a bunch of makeup to hide your appearance. Be comfortable and let the audience see you.
3. Mean what you?re singing and act like it. If one of your songs speaks to you, don?t blow through the lyrics with little emotion. Feel the music. Make the audience believe in what you?re singing.
4. Make eye contact. Don?t just stare off into space; look at the audience. They want to feel engaged and their love for your music can motivate you. If you don?t feel comfortable looking at strangers, have your friends come and sit in the audience and keep your eyes on them.
5. Open your eyes! Just like making eye contact, the audience identifies with you through your eyes. It makes them feel part of the show. You may feel more emotion with your eyes closed, but your audience will not feel the emotion.
6. Stay calm. If you make a mistake, move past it. Don?t stand on stage awkward or make it known that you are having trouble; act natural. The audience does not know what is and is not part of your show.
7. Think about your set list. Make sure the songs flow and that you can keep up. Don?t put everyone?s favorite songs right at the beginning of the performance or the audience might lose interest.
8. Relax. Give yourself time on stage to relax. Don?t play a succession of fast paced dance songs; break them up with a couple slower songs. You don?t want to give your all right in the beginning and have the rest of the performance be dull.
9. Have a Plan B. Make sure you have some songs as back up in case you are feeling under the weather and are unable to hit the high notes or you can?t keep up your energy. Make sure your band is aware of the possible changes as well.
10. Rehearse! Make sure you are prepared for a live concert. Practice everything through and do practice runs to make sure you are able to do the set list. With all the other things that can go wrong during a show, make sure forgetting the lyrics isn?t one of them.

More vocal performance tips:
Tips for Vocal Performers
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Acoustic vs. Electric: Which guitar is right for you?

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Definitely a big decision for beginning guitarists?should you purchase an electric guitar or an acoustic. Everyone will have an opinion for you, your friend who plays in a band and loves his/her electric guitar will likely push you towards that, the salesperson you are purchasing the instrument from will have an opinion based on how much commission he receives. So how do you know which guitar to choose?

Here are some tips for choosing the right guitar.

Use. What are you using the instrument for? If you?re going to be playing in a rock band, then an acoustic guitar will not produce enough sound. If you want an instrument that you can play anywhere that doesn?t require a lot of equipment, then an acoustic is the way to go. Decide what you will use this instrument for the most, and buy according to that. Eventually you can purchase another guitar, but that might not be a feasible option when you?re just starting out.

Sound. The acoustic and electric guitars produce different sounds. An acoustic guitar will have a natural sound that is uninhibited by electronics. On the other hand, an electric guitar will be able to use modern advances and electronics to amplify and enhance sound. You will be able to create louder and different sounds with an electric guitar.

Difficulty. The electric guitar is easier to play than the acoustic guitar because it is able to use electronics to amplify the sound. Therefore, you don?t need to push down as hard on the strings and your strings can be lighter. Acoustic guitars don?t use amps and require heavier strings to make louder sound. You will need to use more energy to play the acoustic.

What it really comes down to is: which guitar do you want to play. If you?ve had your heart set on playing the acoustic guitar, then that?s what you should get. If you want to play an instrument, then you?ll be motivated to find ways to play that instrument.

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10 Ways to Become More Cultured in Music

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1. Check out the local music scene! Cities often have an underground music scene that most people aren?t even aware of. That?s how a lot of great bands actually got their start. Check Facebook, local websites or coffee houses for concerts by local bands. Typically they are free or very cheap and definitely worth your time.
2. Ask someone interesting what they listen to. We all have those friends who listen to different music (not top 40) and march to the beat of their own drum. Ask them what kinds of music they listen to or if they would recommend a couple bands to you.
3. Listen to the whole CD. If you love a song on the radio, go out and buy the whole CD. Listen to it in its entirety and see what you think. Often times the songs that are played on the radio are uncharacteristic of the artist and the best songs are the ones that aren?t mainstream.
4. Listen to bands that others credit as their inspiration. Artists always credit other artists as their inspiration, and sometimes their inspiration is a lesser-known artist.
5. Take a music theory class. This is a great way to really appreciate different types of music. If you?re written off whole genres of music simply because you don?t understand it, a music theory class can help you understand and appreciate different music.
6. Listen to Internet radio stations. With Internet radio stations, like Pandora, you can type in the name of an artist or a song that you really like and the station will play other songs and artists similar.
7. Similarly, rate songs on Internet radio stations that you listen to. The station will then get a feel for your taste and start playing more songs that you might like. This is a great way to discover new bands and music.
8. Take music lessons. Taking music lessons will allow you to really listen to different instruments in a song and appreciate the complexity of songs. Your music instructor may be able to recommend some great bands as well.
9. Keep an eye on local venues. Smaller venues in larger cities will often have concerts by local artists as well as concerts by well-known artists. Look at fliers and the website for the venue and see who?s playing. Then look up the songs online and see what you think.
10. Go to concerts! If your favorite band is coming to town, buy a ticket, but make sure you?re on time to hear the opening bands. If you like the headliner, odds are you?ll like the opener too, which can lead to a whole new world of music.

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How Songwriters Overcome Writer’s Block

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Writers block happens to all writers, including songwriters. Writer?s block happens when songwriters (and other authors) are unable to come up with new material. This could happen if the songwriters become distracted, they may have run out of inspiration or the task at hand may be beyond their ability.

Here are some ways songwriters can overcome writer?s block.

Write about anything! Literally just grab a pen and paper and start writing, about anything. Just the act of writing things on paper, regardless of how silly it may sound, may get your creative juices flowing.

Try to change the pace. Maybe the song isn?t working because you?re trying to create an up tempo beat for a song that should be performed slower. Don?t be afraid to try and work the song at a different pace and see if that helps.

Get ideas on paper. Don?t worry how they sound or if they don?t make sense, just add something to your song. Songwriter?s sometimes worry about their lyrics and if things make sense, but that doesn?t need to be worried about when writing a first draft. It?s easier to work off of a draft than to keep trying to write the perfect lyrics right away.

Try starting from another place. Instead of having to write the beginning of the song before moving onto the chorus, try writing the chorus first. This is going to be the most remembered part of the song, so why not work the rest of the song around that.

Write something else. If you can?t write a song right now, try writing a poem. Often poems can be made into songs anyways. This is a good way to get the words to flow and often times songwriter?s, and people in general, have an easier time writing poems because they know they can be personal.

Look for inspiration elsewhere. Can?t think of anything current happening that you want to write about? Go back through an old diary, photos or read a favorite book and see if you can draw inspiration from that. Writer?s block often happens because the songwriters have run out of inspiration. Don?t let that stop you. Draw inspiration from past experiences or even other people?s experiences.

Aspiring songwriters need more tips to overcome writer’s block?

Contact Lesson Match!

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10 Tips for Writing Your Own Music

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Writing your own music may seem like a difficult task; coming up with the melody, the lyrics and putting them all together. These days, many performers have other write their music because it is a difficult task. One way to really get yourself noticed is to write your own music rather than playing other people?s music or starting a cover band.

Here are some tips for writing your own music.

1. Figure out what works best for you. Try writing some lyrics first, then try playing a melody. Figure out what?s easier for you to start with and go with that.
2. Listen to different types of music and get inspiration from them. Different artists are going to do different things with their music and it?s important to keep variety in your songs to make them unique.
3. Keep a pen and paper or a tape recorder with you at all times. You never know when inspiration will hit and you don?t want to be caught without a way to record your thoughts.
4. Draw inspiration from past experiences. Think about your first love or a high school bully and think about how you felt. The songs with the most emotion are the ones people can relate to because they feel real.
5. Make sure your music and lyrics go together. Sad lyrics shouldn?t have a happy upbeat tempo. Make sure everything about the song makes sense.
6. Make sure your song means something. Songs with silly lyrics can become hits, but the best songs are the ones that mean something and people can relate to.
7. Try to create catchy lyrics and music. The catchy songs are the ones people sing over and over and become hits. This doesn?t mean your whole song has to rhyme, but some sort of word play can be helpful.
8. Create a hook. The hook is the part of the song that captivates listeners and makes them want to listen to it over and over. Great hooks are what will make listeners remember your songs.
9. Get feedback or ask for advice. If you?re not sure about a part of the song or how to really take it to the next level, ask a friend or fellow musician to help you. They might have some insights that you did not think of.
10. Keep writing! Don?t stop just because you have so many songs that you?d never be able to play them all. The more you write, the better your songs will be.

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10 tips to Prepare for an Honor Band Audition

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When you?ve got musical talent or are a serious musician, there will probably be a time when you audition for an honor band. This can be a stressful time since honor bands are very prestigious. The key to nailing the audition is to relax and be prepared!

Here are some tips to prepare for an excellent honor band audition.

1. Know the requirements! Every audition is different, so just because one band audition didn?t require you to do something, doesn?t mean another one won?t. Different instruments have different requirements as well; make sure you are familiar with your instrument requirements, not just the general requirements.

2. Bring the piece you are auditioning with. The director might have the piece there for you, but don?t count on it. It?s better to have it and not need it than to not have it.

3. Bring extra pieces of all your equipment. Having your instrument fail you when you?re completely prepared can be about the worst thing to happen! Don?t let your instrument wreck your audition; have extra reeds etc. just in case.

4. Memorize as much as you can! Just like preparing for an exam, make sure to have enough memorized so you look prepared. You will be able to use sheet music for the audition piece, but octaves and scales will likely need to be memorized.

5. Show off, but don?t overdo it. You get points for everything you can do, but you?ll earn more points by playing 3 octaves than by playing a more difficult octave and messing it up.

6. Ask for help before the audition. If the required piece is more difficult than you anticipated, ask a musical friend or instructor to assist you with practicing. It never hurts to ask for help, especially if they can give you pointers about the piece or audition.

7. Make sure you?re instrument is in its best shape! You don?t want to get to the audition and have your instrument be what fails you. Take it to be professionally cleaned or looked at before the audition.

8. Arrive early to the audition fully prepared. Warm up and get everything together before leaving for the audition and get there early. This will give you time to calm down and scope things out before the audition.

9. Practice! Even the little things that you have been doing since you started playing an instrument can be forgotten or get rusty (sight-reading). Make sure and practice everything you can so you know you won?t make avoidable mistakes.

10. Stay calm. Nerves can wreck an audition! If you?ve practiced and are prepared, then all you can do is try your best. It?s only one audition; there will be more.

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More Tips for Starting Your Own Band

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Start a band.

Sounds easy enough, right? Find musicians, pick a cool name and start jamming together.

Starting your own band might sound easy, and to some extent it is, but there are some obstacles to overcome before your first gig.

1. Find people to join your band that you work well with and make decisions together. Band always have a front man, but all decisions should be a consensus. If half the band wants to do one thing and the other half wants to do something else, work together to find a solution. If some band members are constantly losing battles and being walked over, eventually they?ll leave, and probably not at a convenient time.

2. Have clear goals! Make sure all band members are there for the same reason. If some members only want to play and have fun and others want to work hard and play gigs, there is going to be some nasty disagreements. Things might work with your band at first if you?re trying to prove playing gigs and making records is worth it, but eventually things can go bad and you?ll be back to square one.

3. Deal with problems right away instead of hoping they?ll fizzle out. If one of your band mates is a stage hog or refuses to practice the basics even though they should, these issues should be handled right away. Bands are a team effort and if one person feels like it?s their band, there will be more problems and power struggles later on.

4. Remember that things take time! Just because you read an article about a band that became famous over night does not mean that will be your band. Keep practicing and working towards your goals and don?t give up! Many famous bands had doors slammed in their faces early on, but they were persistent and determined and it paid off.

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10 Tips to Start your own Garage Band

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So you want to start a band and don’t know where to start!

Here are a few things to consider before starting a band.

1. Learn to play your instrument well! This seems like a no-brainer, but make sure you are confident enough with your instrument to play it in front of an audience and mesh your sound with others.
2. Find other musicians like you. Don?t just pick someone because they?re the best; make sure they have similar goals to you. Otherwise the band won?t last.
3. Decide what style of music you want to play. Make sure everyone is on board with this so you can develop your style together.
4. Find a place to practice! You can?t have a band without a garage or place to practice.
5. Make sure everyone has an instrument. If you know someone who can play piano really well and you want him/her in the band, go out and get a keyboard. It?s unrealistic to think there will always be a piano around.
6. Write your own music. This isn?t a necessity since you can cover songs, but if you want your band to go places, you?ll need to write your own music.
7. Make times to practice together. Even if you?re all taking lessons and practicing your parts of the song, you will need to play together to identify weaknesses or what needs to be changed.
8. Set up small concerts or play for your neighborhood to get feedback. If you want to start getting gigs, it?s best to play in front of a smaller crowd first and ask for suggestions.
9. Buy gear! If you want to play a concert, just your instruments will not suffice. You need amps, mics, pedals etc. Make sure you have access to all these things before signing up for a gig.
10. Create a catchy band name. Think of a name that means something to you and the band, or that identifies you. Unique names are catchier and easy to remember!

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10 Music Performance Tips

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A music performance can be very nerve-wracking.

Here are some tips to make sure you have a great performance.

1. When you first walk out on stage for a performance, introduce yourself and make eye contact with some friendly faces in the crowd. Always smile and convey confidence, even if your nerves are getting the best of you.
2. Exude confidence! Even some of the best performers have terrible stage freight, but their love of music helps them overcome these fears. You?re the one with the talent who has the courage to be on stage, so show it. Remember that you can still have a great performance even if everything wasn?t perfect.
3. A music performer is similar to a public speaker, in that they have to engage the audience in the first 10 seconds. If the crowd isn?t hooked right away, it sets the tone for the rest of the performance.
4. Make sure your first piece is one that you truly enjoy. Again, this is the time to ?hook? your audience. You will perform a piece better if you actually like it. Your audience will be able to tell if this song is one you love performing or one that you are forced to play.
5. Play or sing your piece as if it?s a journey. Introduce the piece if it required introduction and begin with great energy and enthusiasm. During the climax, use the highest amount of expression and emotion. End the performance as you would end a journey-with resolution.
6. Visualize yourself as an entertainer rather than just a performer. Entertainers engage the audience and try to see their performance through the eyes of the audience. This will greatly improve your performance because you?ll be focusing on the needs of the audience.
7. Be unique. Even if you?re doing a cover rather than playing your own songs, do something different. No one else can play or sing exactly how you do, so don?t try to mimic the original artist. Take everything you play and make it your own.
8. Perform your piece as you would like it to be performed. The audience doesn?t expect a perfect performance, but they did come to be entertained. Use full energy and keep the audience engaged, otherwise your audience numbers will dwindle as you continue to perform.
9. Remember the lyrics! This seems like a no-brainer, but it?s very embarrassing for a performer to sing the wrong lyrics, or sing them in the wrong order.
10. Chat up the audience in between songs. If you aren?t able to engage the audience during your songs, you might be able to grab them in between. This is a great way to build a relationship with the crowd during a performance.

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